Welcome to Country
The meaning and practice of "Welcome to Country" is a short statement made prior to official functions and events and has been practised in recent times as part of the Reconciliation process with the first nations people of Australia.
The "Welcome to Country" acknowledges the Aborigines as Traditional Owners of the land we call Australia and recognizes their ancestors, and the continued cultural, spiritual and customary practices and rights of Aboriginal people.
This region is home to the Njaki Njaki Nyoongar people.
The Njaki Njaki Nyoonar people traditional lands cover the area from Lake King in the south, to Kulin in the west, Nungarin in the north and to the land east of Hyden and Narembeen.
As a visitor, we ask that you pay respect to the land and the places you choose to visit. Please remember and respect the cultural values of these significant places and understand that Aboriginal people continue to have strong connections and a spiritual relationship not only to the places but also the ecological and geographical environment.
The many granite outcrops, waterways, land formations and plants and animals within the region hold much cultural significance to the Traditional Owners through a continued relationship that spans over thousands of years.
"Please remember that each step you take today is in the footprints of our Ancestors"
SOURCE: The Eastern Wheatbelt Visitors Centre Guide
The Legend of Mulka's Cave
The name Mulka comes from an Aboriginal legend associated with the cave. Mulka was said to be the son of a woman who fell in love with a man with whom marriage was forbidden. It was believed that as a result of breaking these rules she bore a son with crossed eyes. Even though he grew to be an outstandingly strong man of colossal height, his crossed eyes prevented him from aiming a spear accurately and becoming a successful hunter.
Out of frustration, Mulka turned to catching and eating human children and he became the terror of the district. It was said he lived in Mulka's Cave where the imprints of his hands can still be seen, much higher than that of an ordinary man.
Mulka's mother became increasingly concerned about Mulka, and, when she scolded him for his anti-social behaviour, he turned on his own mother and killed her. This disgraced him even more and he fled his cave, heading south.
All the Aboriginal people of the district, outraged by Mulka's behaviour, set out to track down this man who had flouted all rules. They finally caught him near Dumbleyung, 156km south-west of Hyden, where they speared him. Because he did not deserve a proper ritual burial, they left his body to the ants; a grim warning to those who break the law.
Australian Aboriginal's Dreamtime
The expression "Dreamtime" for Australian Aboriginals is most often used to refer to the 'time before time', or 'the time of the creation of all things', while 'Dreaming' is often used to refer to an individual's or group's set of beliefs or spirituality.
For instance, an indigenous Australian might say that they have Kangaroo Dreaming or Shark Dreaming, or a combination of Dreamings pertinent to their "country".
It is believed that in Aboriginal culture, "Ancestor Spirits' came to Earth in human, animal and plant forms and that the land, the plants and animals were given their form as we know them today. This time when the ancestral spirits emerged from beneath the earth is called Dreamtime.
These spirits also established relationships between groups and individuals, (whether people or animals) as they travelled accross the land, they created rivers, hills, rocks, etc. and there are often stories attached to these places.
Ancestor Spirits behaved like people - fighting, loving, hunting, and competing. They taught their descendants the sacred rituals and the symbols and designs used in paintings. They were also the lawmakers and from their deeds, Aboriginal people learned how to behave and to live with each other.
Once their work was done, the Ancestor Spirits changed again into animals or stars or hills or other objects. For indigenous Australians, the past is still alive and vital today and will remain so into the future. The Ancestor Spirits and their powers have not gone, they are present in the forms into which they changed at the end of the Dreamtime, as the stories tell.
The stories have been handed down through the ages and are an integral part of an Aboriginal person's Dreaming.
Dreaming is the "embodiment of Aboriginal creation which gives meaning to everything".
SOURCE: The Central Wheatbelt Map and Visitors Guide
Please enjoy the Dreamtime stories of Australian Aboriginals that are written throughout the website.